Episode:Evolutionary Religion—Fetishes and Magic (Part 1)

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March 13, 2018 [Paper 88:0-1, p. 967]

As the fetish cult evolved, it incorporated all of the primitive ideas of ghosts, souls, spirits, and demon possession. Primitive men made almost everything extraordinary into a fetish. Many looked upon geniuses as fetish personalities—more than human, divine, even infallible. Thus did chiefs, kings, priests, prophets, and church rulers eventually wield great power and exercise unbounded authority.

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Keywords: Urantia, Religion, Fetishism, Nature Fetishes, Bodily Fetishes


Summary by Kermit

Commentary on the Review

We commented on mortal inconsistencies whereby as a group, moderns espouse a scientific attitude, renounce superstition, and scorn ignorance all the while privately craving mystery and venerating the unknown. Putting a finer point on it, ofttimes this private craving and veneration is far from the courageous and independent cosmic thinking we are inspired to seek but leads to the adoption of unscientific and magical fantasies bearing no connection to reality. Similarly, in the reverence for unity, frequently called worship, many succumb to a deindividuation rather than finding a philosophical recognition of the transcendent as an individual in relation to unity.

In response to last week’s comment on the practice of invoking Jesus’ name to enhance the efficacy prayer, a caller reminded us of the validity of seeking the Spirit of Truth’s help in formulating genuine prayer. Prayer we are reminded is the process of taking God’s way as opposed to the all too common practice of trying bend God’s way to our purposes. Deliverance from this pernicious practice is found by recognizing the hitherto unconscious influence of our cultural inheritance and purposefully purging it from our spiritual life. This recognition begins with the faith grasp of the truth of God’s absolute love for each of His children and courageously taking salvation for granted! This arc on evolutionary religion should serve to assist us in replacing a magic model of relating to God to a logical model. Adoption of such a logical framework favors more efficient work of the Thought Adjuster in changing, adjusting or controlling our thoughts, depending on the stage of our spiritual development.

We indulged in further commentary concerning the inevitability of cult formation in our lives. We described an iterative salutary process whereby improvements in the quality of the cult lead to an enhanced inner life, which in turn when outwardly expressed enhances the qualities of the cult framework and ever upward. Our current study shows us how stuck we are in the basic cult constructs of our ancient inheritance. The 5th ER is challenging us to go forward and up, transcending the cult of Jesus predicated on our being children of God, to a religious framework whereby we can be grown to adults of God. What on earth would that look like?


Paper 88. Fetishes, Charms, and Magic

We were struck by the revelators’ characterization of the foundational principle of fetishism i.e., the concept of a spirit entering into an inanimate object, an animal, or a human being as “honorable.”

In this paper the author reprises much of the content of Paper 85 The Origins of Worship from the perspective of the underlying concept which motivated the worship of stones, hills, plants trees, animals, elements, heavenly bodies, and man himself. It was the “indwelling” ghosts, souls, spirits, and demon possession which were worshiped rather than the objects themselves. And herein is the honorable part, it was the superconscious recognition of something transcendent of material objects. The 5th ER invites us to discover the real roots of our present beliefs, that being the faith gift of our natural mind endowment. Thus an impulse to worship nature can be elevated to the worship of nature’s Author. Let us not be so quick to label all of these beliefs, practices, and traditions as foolish and ignorant. Recognize the threads of evolutionary truth flowing through these doings of the ancients. Observe the potentiality resident therein and be willing to attempt their actualization in our lives, now.


88:1. Belief in Fetishes

Primitive man’s limited discernment of causality gave rise to the elevation of all the things in his environment to the status of fetish through simple sequential juxtaposition, coincidence. Those who proclaim disdain for philosophical materialism often articulate an unwitting materialism in their worldview which imbues matter with magic.

It should not surprise us that with evolutionary progress fetishes became more abstract to include things like days of the week, and lucky and unlucky numbers. Counting itself even became suspect.

Interestingly, sex and reproduction did not dominate the primitives. Promiscuity and prurience made their appearance with the addition of the potential for heightened imagination resident in the Adamic inheritance. Sad to record that potentials for self-control were not concomitant with such an activated imagination.

So, as mentioned, fetishes progressed to bodily substances and body parts to include persons. The extraordinary, be it a visible defect, bizarre behavior, or perceived endowment was fair game to be revered and even worshiped by the fetish-minded primitive. Fetish humans were believed to be superhuman, divine even infallible. So it is that chiefs, kings, priests, prophets, and church rulers came to wield great power and exercise unbounded authority.


Notes by Brad

  • What would the cult of adults of God look like? No one knows, we've never had one. Our cults today are made by and for children of God.
    • A cult borne of the upper domain of mind. That would be something. It would demonstrate no fear, no anger, no lower-domain stuff.


  • Remember: read papers like Paper 88 not as historical facts, but as revealing truth that is relevant to today.
    • Primitive belief? You're soaking in it!


  • Why is fetishism honorable? It's truly trying to transcend matter. It recognizes something above, something greater, something transcendent.
    • But don't be satisfied. Don't subsist just on the shadows cast down into your everyday plane by that which is above.
    • And watch out for, let's call it "vibrationism." An attempted more scientific take on thoughts about rocks. Keep penetrating deeper into the subjected. Stay hungry and thirsty, my friends.
  • Remember: When you transcend the body, you don't get to spirit. You get to mind.


  • Do you think you've rejected philosophic materialism? Not so fast.
    • You were born into it. You're soaking in it.
    • Even the most mystical-minded individual may well still be in the "materialism box."
    • Only if you penetrate through it all the way can you truly step outside of it.


  • "Worship" in its historical usage is most likely "adoration plus ritual". But there is still a superconscious recognition of worship, so the word is still appropriate even if the outer life expression is primitive.
  • Do you have strong feelings about not eating dog meat? Yet you really see nothing to question? You're a helpless victim of fetishism.
  • Do you still have feelings about Friday the 13th? And see no problem with that? Helpless victim. Though at least this--days of the week and numbers--is a little more abstract that animals.
  • This Paper 88 is going back over similar material as Paper 85: the move from inanimate objects, to celestial objects, to humans as the source of fetish/worship.